There are many people out there who think they have a winning game concept based on borrowing and meshing two or more concepts together. One such example that I’ve heard a lot recently is taking the combat of Dark Souls 2 and combining it with some other game feature. Whether that’s with a narrative of another game, a different type of RPG system or the platforming of another game; at face value it seems like it could be really cool, especially if you enjoy the combat of Dark Souls 2. If you were to try to make this game a reality, it would be very important to understand how exactly Dark Souls combat works as well as why it is made to be a certain way and what about that appeals to you and other players. Without it, you are likely to end up with a combat system that feels nothing like what you were hoping for. This is what we call Reverse Engineering.
Reverse Engineering is the practice of taking something that already exists and peeling away its layers to better understand exactly what makes it tick. For example, Super Mario is known for having an intuitive jump that makes sense for the player to use. If I was to make a game that revolved around platforming and jumping, it would be very important for me to take a close look at Mario’s jump to understand what about it resonates with players. How low and high can Mario jump? What is the full range of both jump height as well as horizontal movement? How long does it take for Mario to complete a jump? How long does the player have to hold the jump button for to achieve the maximum jump? How much of an impact does sprinting have on his jump? What is the rate of acceleration for his ascent and descent? How long does Mario “float” at the peak of his jump?